Caffeine hits me hard, so when I drink 1 cup of coffee, it counts. Anymore than that, I get jittery and don’t know what to do with myself. I like coffee, but I keep it to a once in a while thing, so I don’t get that out-of-control caffeine hit. What I do live for is tea, especially herbal teas. In the winter months, I stock up on tea and go through boxes like crazy. I know, I know, I really should get a tea infuser.
Herbal tea is usually non-caffeinated, so it can act as a hydrating beverage.
Herbal teas aren’t really traditional tea leaves, like white, green, or black teas. They are plants - leaves, roots, seeds, or barks - steeped in hot water. There are hundreds or thousands of different herbal teas out there, and they offer health benefits. Traditionally, many teas were used for a medicinal purpose.
Here are 5 great herbal teas with health benefits:
Who doesn’t love peppermint flavors, especially around the holidays? Peppermint tea is great to reduce abdominal gas and bloating, and it has been shown to reduce the symptoms of IBS. Peppermint tea relaxes muscles, which can relax the intestinal muscles. That being said, if you suffer from acid reflux, peppermint is best avoided, as it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter. This allows the acid contents of your stomach to enter your esophagus and cause pain.
As a ginger myself, eating ginger daily is pretty much required. I like it strong, and I've been known to just chew on a piece of ginger root, or ask for my juice to be loaded with it.
Ginger is a digestive aid, and I love drinking it 20-30 minutes before meals. It can help settle your stomach if you have a stomach ache, nausea, or vomiting. If you have motion sickness, morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidurm, ginger tea may be something to try out. One study found ginger decreased the severity of nausea and vomiting in women during early pregnancy.
Ginger is anti-inflammatory and may help with arthritis and joint health, as well. Throw in some turmeric and make a super anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting tea (recipe below).
Ginger tea is incredibly easy to make, as well. Simply slice off a piece of ginger root, and simmer it in hot water. You can also buy ginger tea bags.
Recipe:Ginger Turmeric Tea via Homegrown & Healthy
Chamomile belongs to the plant genus Matricaria, which means "womb" in Latin. It's widely been used to PMS related symptoms like cramping and bloating. It has antispasmodic properties, which can help relieve painful gas, bloating, and cramps.
It is soothing and can have a mild sedative effect, which makes it great for drinking in the evening. It may be worth it to try when you’re feeling stressed out as well! Its anti-anxiety and mood-regulating effects make it useful during PMS as well.
If you are on a low-FODMAPs diet, avoid it, as chamomile has been found to be high in FODMAPs and may worsen IBS symptoms.
Raspberry leaf tea
Raspberry leaf tea is often recommended during pregnancy, but it is great throughout your life, as well. It is rich in nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and B-vitamins, which are great to regulate leg cramps, menstrual cramps, and improve sleep.
For pregnancy, it is thought to tone your uterus in order to help labor progress at a steady pace. Although the research is limited, one study found women who drank raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy had a shorter second stage of labor.
Licorice Root Tea
The yogi brand Egyptian Licorice Mint is hands-down my favorite tea. Yogi tea brand is one of my favorites because of the inspiring quotes they put on each bag - I always save them!
Licorice can be very soothing to the digestive tract and may help with stomach ulcers and indigestion. Licorice is also traditionally used for respiratory infections like coughs, colds, as well as asthma. One thing to note is regular licorice is not recommended for those with high blood pressure, but you can keep licorice tea to 1/2 cup daily.
What's your favorite type of herbal tea?
It's definitely a tie between licorice & ginger for me!
Flickr Creative Commons credit: Maks Karochkin